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Religious Education: Unit 4 Area of study 1: Challenge and response

Resources to support senior religious education curriculum.

RE Unit 4 AOS1

Challenge and response

In this area of study students investigate how and why religious traditions as a whole, or their denominations, have taken steps from their inception to the present to respond to challenges in the categories of theology, ethics and continued existence.

Religious traditions or their denominations are in a continual process of engagement and negotiation with challenges that may influence them to adopt various stances for, against or of indifference. A stance is a principled perspective which may be expressed in various responses that support this stance, including the option not to respond in any practical or discernible ways. A stance can itself be enough to respond to the challenge and to retain integrity, authenticity and identity for the religious tradition’s or denomination’s leadership and adherents. With various stances there will be a mixture of supportive responses that attempt to bring about change or attempt to retain the status quo, though these may not always accomplish the desired results.

The impetus for religious traditions or denominations to take a stance can come from a variety of sources. The ability of a religious tradition or denomination to adopt different stances is variously determined by beliefs, authority structures, official teachings, rulings of religious law, tradition, key individuals and attitudes within the religious and wider communities.

Students consider how some aspects of religion are more likely to be involved when taking a stance, such as distinctive beliefs, rituals, religious practices, the interpretation of texts, the application of ethical principles, the nature and role of authority, and the manner of participation within the social structure of a religious tradition or denomination. Students study one or more than one religious tradition or denomination. They develop an overview of four significant challenges for each religious tradition or denomination studied, and the stances and supporting responses taken by the religious tradition/s or denomination/s. Each of the four challenges will encompass one or more than one of the categories of: theology, ethics or continued existence, but as a whole should cover all categories. [source]

RE Unit 4 AOS1 Outcome 1

On completion of this unit the student should be able to discuss, analyse and compare stances and supporting responses taken by religions as they are challenged.

To achieve this outcome the student will draw on key knowledge and key skills outlined in Area of Study 1.

Re Unit 4 AOS1: Challenge and response

U4 AOS1: Key knowledge

  • challenges involving theology, ethics and continued existence for religion generally over time
  • the sources of the challenges and what makes a challenge significant and the aspects of religion which are involved and why
  • the stances adopted by religion generally in the face of challenges and why
  • an overview of challenges involving theology, ethics and continued existence faced by one or more than one religious tradition or denomination, including:
    – the sources of those challenges
    – when and where those challenges occurred or are occurring
    – the aspects in the religious tradition/s or denomination/s involved
    – what makes the challenges significant to the religious tradition/s or denomination/s
    – the stances, and responses supporting them, taken by the religious tradition/s or denomination/s to each of those challenges.

U4 AOS1: Key skills

  • analyse challenges to religion generally
  • explain stances adopted by religion generally in the face of challenges and why
  • analyse and compare challenges to specific religious traditions or denominations
  • analyse and compare stances and responses to challenges taken by a specific religious tradition or denomination
  • interpret, synthesise and apply primary and secondary source material.